The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Goats => Topic started by: westcoastcroft on January 05, 2017, 07:32:26 pm

Title: Milker going dry?
Post by: westcoastcroft on January 05, 2017, 07:32:26 pm

We recently took on a milking toggenberg (Pia)  and her wether companion from friends who needed to pass them on.

They live together in a cosy shed with free range outdoor access. Fed on adlib hay, as many rushes as they fancy occasional trips to the common for heather and harbros goat mix. Obviously ad lib water and then a mineral lick which ran out about 2  ago (more ordered).

A few months ago we had a bale of hay get pretty wet (which they were not impressed with) and ran out of anything else for a day or so and milk volumes declined from about 1.4/5 litres every morning down to .8/9 - this got better with fresh hay and she got back to about what she had been doing. Similar incident just before Xmas but this time she hasn't come back up and is still only providing about 1 litre a day. She was kidded in 2016 and is about 5. She has been in heat twice starting end of November.
So a few questions. ..
Can she be helped to produce more milk? How? Or is she going to slowly dry up?
I have also posted looking for a local Billy as if she is drying off I would like to get her in kid this year (had originally planned to leave it until 2018) how many seasons does a goat usually have over a winter? If I have missed her natural seasons is it possible to use estrogen? sponge to induce her as in sheep?

Any advice appreciated.

Title: Re: Milker going dry?
Post by: Anke on January 05, 2017, 09:09:38 pm
She may or may not come back up in the spring, although the volume she was giving in autumn makes me think that she is more likely to dry off or her amounts in her second year milking are not enough to make milking worthwhile. I would have also expected a Toggenburg (either a pure Togg or a British Togg) to milk more than that tbh.

So if she is in good enough condition I would try and put her in kid asap, but you may well have missed it for this season. I still had a kid in full blown season for two days (it seemed like an eternity) over New Year, so unless she has problems she should still be coming in a couple of times more in Jan/Feb. Not possible to judge in advance.

I would suggest you join the "goaty friends" Facebook page to maybe have more of a chance to locate a billy near to you, probably not that many goatkeepers on Skye on TAS... I know a breeder on the Western Isles, which may just be closer to you than for anyone else in Scotland..., get back to me and I pass on details if you want to discuss. I guess breed is not that important?
Title: Re: Milker going dry?
Post by: westcoastcroft on January 05, 2017, 10:24:00 pm
Thanks for your reply.

I dont think the previous folk ever milked her twice a day. Most she has done for me was 1.8 litres and i cant see how she could have done much.more than that based on a single daily milking as she was very tight and full. What would you expect from a british togg on a single daily milking?
She isnas far as i can tell kn pretty good shape so i will try to get a billy lined up.
Title: Re: Milker going dry?
Post by: Dogwalker on January 06, 2017, 07:24:35 am
Mine increase output once they get fresh grass and the days get longer, this is the lowest point of the year.  Can you get some Alfa A or similar to give her a boost.
Mine are very much still coming in season (wish they weren't).
Title: Re: Milker going dry?
Post by: Talana on January 06, 2017, 01:38:36 pm
I am guessing that's Guilden Pia from Tom Bryson and neighbour. She would likely be a good milker(althoughi think she occasionally thows light coloured kids). If they where just milking once a day she would of been partially dried off. Also this time of year is the lowest point of yield of milkers running through.( My pure togg milker is down to 1.90kg a day milking twice a day, I would expect more for a BT. Although some goats just don't run through. My pure togg which is a lot smaller that a BT had 5.5kg early on) Last lactaton she had she ran through and picked up again to full amount previous year in march. Don't lose heart, keep milking twice a day, often when Feb/March comes they start to pick up then when you get spring greenery that will boost it up. Plenty of hay also as others suggested alfa a , readigrass, carrots swedes plus your concentrates. Also keep up to date with worm and fluke FEC.
There are BT's and 2 pure Toggs on Skye they had  several BT males I have messaged you their address. Tom normally boarded his girls at breeder at Dundee or Perth(for his pure toggs) Wonder if your wether is one of my pure togg wethers (Andy) who went over to him. Mine come into season every 3 weeks til the 1st week of March. You can use chronogest sponges and no need for pmsg with goats in breeding season.

Anke you would be interested to know the people I knew on Skye had Charnocks Bron alvin  Bt. Plus they bought Scotshaven BT males.
Also Scottish Goat keepers Federation may have ideas of breeders on west coast.
Title: Re: Milker going dry?
Post by: westcoastcroft on January 06, 2017, 06:54:25 pm
Hi thanks for reply.
Yes its Pia and Andy from Toms neighbour Dale. Lovely goats and she is so calm.
I have only ever milked in the morning for a max of 1.8,  an average of 1.4/5 and now a low hovering around  .9/1 - litres.
Would you recommend adding another milking to bring yeilds up? I dont really need much more than 2l a day but would take the 1.5 and one milking over more in two milkings if i had the choice. Do I really need to keep her at maximum production to avoid the risk of her drying off?

When you say you can use sponges would that bring her into season outside of the normal time of year - or is it just used to get season to fall at convenient times/synchronise larger numbers of animals for closer kidding times etc?
You dont have a number of email for those folk you messaged about you could pm do you?

Title: Re: Milker going dry?
Post by: Talana on January 06, 2017, 07:12:08 pm
Sorry I only have their address so you would have to write to them, as I put it in my holding register when I sold a pure togg milker and her 2 female kids years ago but have lost their phone number. Threeof their males are for sale on bgs grassroots but they don't seem to realise their details don't come up.  Outwith the breeding season you can use chronogest sponges but advisable to inject pmsg as well also for AI. Or only need the sponges in the breeding season. People use it to help plan a convenient time to take the female to the male or have them kid close together. Often with changing weather some people have found the goats not coming in season til late - November  onwards when they want Feb/ March kidding for example. If you want to milk once a day that is fine you do what suits you best, she will probably pick up in the next couple of months then return to twice a day milking or you can put her back in kid. If you stop milking she will dry off.
Title: Re: Milker going dry?
Post by: Talana on January 26, 2017, 04:24:14 pm
Just saw this on preloved this is the people I messaged you about on Skye: (
Title: Re: Milker going dry?
Post by: westcoastcroft on January 28, 2017, 09:24:03 pm
Thanks for that.

Think i will just leave it. If she goes dry i can always bring her into season then.

Thanks for your help
Title: Re: Milker going dry?
Post by: westcoastcroft on February 22, 2017, 10:59:55 am
Just thought I would update this as I often find this forum usefull and want to update as others may find a resolution helpful....

So Pia had dipped right down and then came back up slowly to about 300mls below previous yields. She then got pretty ill for a few days (see other post) before recovering. During her illness she was down to less than 50mls a day and barely eating - she recovered quite quickly to her old self and her yields started to go back up - I would say on average a bit under 50mls increase a day. Its about a month since she got ill and she is back to about 1litre every morning (she only gets milked once a day and last kidded in 2016) which is just below the 1.2 she was doing before she got ill - hopefully she will continue to improve and eventually get back to the 1.4/5 I was getting before winter.